Itâ€™s hard to imagine Manhattanâ€™s Upper East Side as a hotbed for contemporary design, but the museum shop at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is not only one of the best museum shops Iâ€™ve ever seen, itâ€™s also one of the best destinations for great design in the city. Gregory Krum, the museumâ€™s Director of Retail, has spent several years curating an impressive collection of accessories and books that rivals many of the more thrown about names in the business.
Among the several additions to the Cooper-Hewitt shopâ€™s collection, the U.S. premiere of Tokyo Kamen is sure to be the crowd pleaser. Tokyo Kamen is a design project started in 2006 by Akihiko Ando and Eri Uchiyama. Taking the traditional masks (kamen) worn by â€œNohâ€ actors as its main influence, the project has blossomed into a series of textile-based products such as dolls, cushions, and bags. The Cooper-Hewitt shop will be debuting the entire collection of 54 unique, zany dolls, each hand-made by Uchiyama, next Friday, 17 May, to conveniently coincide with The International Contemporary Furniture Fair—always an important time for New York retailers to flaunt their latest acquisitions. The shop will only have one of each doll, available for $300 a pop, so interested parties are encouraged to arrive early.